Do You Have 21st-Century Skills to Help Your Students Succeed?
Do Your Students Have 21st-Century Skills to Think for Themselves?
The Power of the Socratic Classroom has the answers you are looking for—answers that will supply the strategies to show students how to succeed into the future. A future that has unknown products, unidentified jobs, and unanticipated challenges.
In Socratic Seminar, teachers shift to the role of facilitator, where they help their students develop the collaborative interpersonal skills, the critical and creative thinking skills, and the speaking and listening skills to face the upcoming challenges of the 21st century.
Charles Fischer has taught in public and private schools in a variety of settings, from rural Maine to inner city Atlanta. In the past 20 years, he has worked with a wide range of students from 4th grade to AP English and has been nominated for Teacher of the Year four times. He has his Master’s degree in Teaching & Learning from the University of Southern Maine, and received his B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University. His latest book, The Power of the Socratic Classroom, has won four awards, including the NIEA Best Education Book. His first novel, Beyond Infinity, won a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award bronze medal (YA fiction). His areas of expertise are Socratic Seminar, Active Listening, Inquiry, Teaching & Learning, and Critical & Creative Thinking. He is currently working on a book of poetry, a short story collection, and several novels.
Using texts that contradict each other, or at least seem to, are fantastic for Socratic Seminar. This is especially true if there is time in the curriculum to explore the ideas, issues, or values thoroughly. One amazing model for this is to combine seminars with debates, providing students with the opportunity to engage with the material on deep levels in both cooperative and competitive environments.
Contradictory texts are also useful for students to see and understand that there are different ways of viewing the same issue and both or all viewpoints might be valid.
The Power of the Socratic Classroom
Choosing two texts that contradict each other can lead to powerful critical and creative thinking as well, since the right pairings will show multiple viewpoints of the same time period, event, or issue. For example, juxtaposing two artists such as Norman Rockwell and Lewis Hine can show students that there are differing viewpoints and experiences of the same time period. Contradictory informational or persuasive texts are obvious choices since they often both seem factual and correct. For example, if your curriculum presents a certain historical character in a heroic light, then choosing a text that vilifies that person will put the students in the twilight of uncertainty.